While social cohesion has become a commonly accepted policy goal and framework in many ethnically diverse societies, there is a general concern in some academic literature that it can be a form of governmentality that constructs manageable subjects and communities, represses diversity and distracts attention from the social, political and economic production of inequalities. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in two rural Australian towns with ethnically diverse populations, this article engages with these criticisms of social cohesion while simultaneously asserting that social cohesion is viewed by local practitioners as a desirable objective for both strengthening intercultural community and addressing issues of social justice and inequality. We also aim to bring some needed clarity to relevant debates in the literature in distinguishing between social cohesion discourses used for normative and/or homogenising purposes versus frameworks developed in the academic literature with a concern for social justice and equality among diverse populations.
SOURCE: Moran A, and Mallman M. “Social cohesion in Rural Australia: Framework for conformity or social justice?.” AJSI, 30 April 2019.
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